Swedish word of the day: fettisdagen

Swedish word of the day: fettisdagen
A good word to know if you like baked goods. Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Today's word gives you as good an excuse as any to eat an enormous cream-filled bun.

Fettisdagen literally means 'fat Tuesday' (fett + tisdag), and it is the Swedish name for the Catholic celebration of Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, being a literal translation of the latter. 

In 2021, it takes place on February 16th.

In Catholic tradition, this is the final day of Shrovetide, the period of confession and reflection before Lent, forty days of fasting or abstinence from luxuries. People would also use the final day before fasting to indulge in rich foods, hence the 'fat'. 

In Sweden, which is predominantly secular, the day has mostly lost its religious connotations, and it's not a public holiday.

But the Swedes are not likely to pass up an opportunity to enjoy baked goods.

So the food-related part of the tradition has stuck around, and to most people in the country Fettisdagen is simply a chance to eat semlor: wheat, cardamom-spiced buns filled with almond paste and lots of whipped cream. In fact, the day is sometimes referred to simply as semmeldagen or semlans dag.

Examples

Många svenskar äter minst en semla på fettisdagen

Many Swedes eat at least one semla on Shrove Tuesday

Snart är fettisdagen här

Shrove Tuesday will soon be here

 


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